“Every age, every generation has its built-in assumptions — that the world is flat, that the world is round. There are hundreds of hidden assumptions, things we take for granted that may or may not be true. In the vast majority of cases, these conceptions about reality — which belong to the prevailing paradigm or worldview — aren’t accurate. So if history’s any guide, much that we take for granted about the world today simply isn’t true.” — John Hagelin, Ph.D.
As we can read in the book What the Bleep Do We Know!? most of those grand discoveries and revelations that our society cherishes came from asking questions. Those things, those answers, that we study in school came from questions. Questions are the precursor, or first cause, in every branch of human knowledge. Questions open us up to what we previously didn’t know. And they’re really the only way to get there — to the other side of the unknown.
And what makes a question Great? A Great Question doesn’t have to come from a philosophy book, or be about Life’s Big Issues. A Great Question is the one that can change the direction of our life.
For most of us, it takes a serious crisis to bring on the Great Questions: a life-threatening illness, the death of someone close, failure of a business or a marriage, a repeated, even addictive behavior pattern you just can’t seem to shake, or loneliness that seems unendurable for one more day. At times like those, Great Questions come boiling up from the depths of our being like hot lava.
If we could muster up the same kind of passion to ask ourselves a Great Question about our lives now, when there is no immediate crisis, who knows what could happen? As Fred Alan Wolf said, asking a Great Question can open up new ways of being in the world. It can be a catalyst for transformation. Growing. Outgrowing. Moving on.
The fun and joy of life are in the journey. In our culture, we’ve been conditioned to look at “not knowing” as something unacceptable and bad; it’s some kind of failure. In order to pass the test, we have to know the answers. But even when it comes to factual knowledge about concrete things, what science doesn’t know far exceeds what it does. Many of the greatest scientists have looked into the mystery of the universe and of life on our planet, and have frankly said, “We know very little. Mostly we have a lot of questions.” In the words of author Terence McKenna, “As the bonfires of knowledge grow brighter, the more the darkness is revealed to our startled eyes.”
Why ask a Great Question? Asking a Great Question is an invitation to an adventure, a journey of discovery. It’s thrilling to set out on a new adventure; there’s the bliss of freedom, the freedom to explore new territory.
People have been asking Great Questions for thousands of years. There have always been men and women who gazed at the stars and wondered at the vast mystery of it all, or who looked at the way people around them were living and thought, “Isn’t there more to life than this?”
The ancient Greek philosophers pondered and discussed the Great Questions. Some, like Socrates and Plato, asked, “What is Beauty? What is Goodness? What is Justice? What is the best way to govern a society? What people are fit to be rulers?” Religious teachers, mystics and spiritual masters like Buddha, Lao Tse, Jesus, Muhammad, St. Francis, Meister Eckhardt, Apollonius of Tyana and many more, in all the world’s traditions, have asked Great Questions.
People with scientific minds have always asked questions. How does it work? What’s inside? Are things really the way they seem? Where does the universe come from? Is the Earth the center of the solar system? Are there laws and patterns that underlie what happens in daily life? What’s the connection between my body and my mind?
It’s only by asking questions, challenging the assumptions and the “truths” taken for granted at any given time, that science progresses. What if that turned out to be true about our personal lives, our individual growth and progress?
Guess what? It is true. When you break free of your assumptions about yourself, you will grow more than you ever thought possible.
Pondering the Great Questions is a wonderful way to spend “quality time” with your mind. When was the last time you took your mind on a wild ride of mystery? Tried to get to the other side of Infinity?
Asking questions also has enormous practical value. It’s the gateway to change.
For instance: Ever ask yourself, as Joe Dispenza asks, “Why do we keep recreating the same reality? Why do we keep having the same relationships? Why do we keep getting the same jobs over and over again? In this infinite sea of potentials that exist around us, how come we keep recreating the same realities?”
Or as Einstein put it, one of the definitions of insanity is to do the same things over and over and expect a different result.
That’s where asking Great Questions comes in. They are Great because they open us up to a greater reality, a greater vista and greater options. And they come in the form of Questions because they come from the other side of the Known. And to get there is to change.
Tags: Book, Change, Crisis, Discovery, Earth, Einstein, Freedom, Hagelin, Knowledge, Life, Master, Mind, Mystery, Mystic, Paradigm, Philosopher, Reality, Science, Spirituality, Transformation, Universe, Worldview